About a year and a half ago, we had to have our yellow lab put to sleep. It was heart wrenching, and I was such a coward that I had to have my neighbor's husband take her, something I've regretted ever since. Wanting another animal, but not having time to properly care for a dog, we decided to adopt two kittens.
I've never been a "cat person." When I was young, my mother had a black angora named Samson who taught me to respect and sort of hate cats. I find their unpredictability disturbing and I don't really like anything that poops in a box, especially a box which I have to clean every day. But they can be cuddly in the wintertime and I was missing having an animal, so I decided to take the plunge into cat "ownership" (as if!).
Upon arriving at the pound, I was disappointed to find they only had two cats "ready to go." If I was going to do this, I didn't need time to talk myself out of it. Unfortunately, one of the little buggers was off getting de-buggered, but I took him sight unseen after the hunky dogcatcher/poundkeeper assured me he was a nice kitty. The other feline was there but he was already over three months old and looked like a full grown cat next to the newly-weaned precious babies with whom he was housed. I tried to approach him, he hissed and ran away. Hunky dogcatcher assured me he really was a great cat but needed a firm and gentle approach; he demonstrated this for me on frightened feline (and for a minute I wished myself a cat) and I could hear this cat purring even as he looked at me in terror. I'm sure my head was muddled from standing so near perfect poundkeeper, but I giggled and agreed to take him, too. I was to return in two days to pick up them up -- if nothing else, I'd get to see Dave (?) Doug (?) Mike (?) again...
Two days later, after much primping and preening, I arrived at the pound to pick up my new wards. "Elvis" (the newly-castrated) was adorable and sweet and tiny. "Mikey" (the terrified hissing purring mess) was completely tense and entirely pissed off. I wrote the check, said my fond farewells to delicious dogcatcher, and off we went. The ride home was noisy (all Mikey) and sounded like I was killing a large opera singer with a butter knife.
Upon arriving home to two overly excited children, Mikey scrambled, still screaming, upstairs, under my bed, where he remained for the next four weeks. Elvis toddled out of his crate, hopped in my oldest son's lap and fell asleep.
The first order of business was names. No way in hell was I going to have two cats named Elvis and Mikey. After seriously considering Pontius and Pilate, we decided on Cain and Abel. They are half brothers, one litter apart, and their personalities seemed perfectly suited. The second order of business was to make Cain love me. I felt foolish for taking this psych case of a cat in the first place, but I also felt it would be a major accomplishment to have this creature trust me. I spent the next four weeks on my knees, squeezed half under my bed, tempting him with tuna fish (the smell of which makes me gag). I tried everything, including expensive toys. I even had my crazy neighbor (;-) come over to help. As the owner of four fairly normal cats, I thought she would be of some help. Her advice? 1. Give him a bath (yeah, right; I'm not an idiot) and 2. Just force the fucker and hold him tight and love him. She left bleeding. I even called sexy animal control officer/cat whisperer to the scene. (Seeing him on his knees in my bedroom will make the next 13 or so years well worth it). His advice? The same: gentle but firm.
Just when I was about to give him back, Cain decided to come around. It started with a small nuzzle in the middle of the night and very slowly progressed to creepy-watching-me-as-I-slept to sleeping on me (but tearing off in a fit when I awoke).
Cain is now solely MY cat and I adore him. He lives in self-imposed exile in the cellar during the day, but once those noisy kids go to bed, he is cuddled up on my lap and won't tolerate anybody touching him but me. As weird as this sounds, I count this as one of the greatest achievements of my life. And I hate cats.